The Granting

I awoke this morning to a life I have been dreaming of…
for twenty five years…it has manifested…



Dharma Do

My heart is awash in billows of gratitude.  Finally, after so many years of my ‘gypsy life’, movement hither, thither and yon back to Destiny’s Consent.

I am once again at work birthing the sequel.

This is Laura Shepard Townsend’s space in the jungle. It is my room. It is my writing room.

Everything is here…my books, my notes….my boxes and boxes of 3X5 cards. They sit on the floor beside me awaiting the creation of scenes. Who is Angelica Grastende in 1926?  She is a flyer…yes!!


It is here that I live within my story: the next part of the dream I dreamt so many many years ago. I now live among the Mysteries.  I summon the Muses for assistance.

I look to the walls; Pat and my Mother smile inspirations upon me. Delores Hanney is there in a review published in The Venice Beachhead.

The desk at which I sit is a Chinese altar bearing talismans for lyrical clarity: a quill pen carved with mythical symbols leaning amidst crystals; an antique brass ruler engraved with dragons; a pen studded with jewels; amulet stones gathered from many places.  Beside me is a lacquered screen with carved gemstones in the shapes of flowers……mmmm….all of my treasures.

A pig with wings…’when pigs fly’ and I am at work. I am doing my work, with the gift I was given upon arrival here. It is my dharma. It is my quest.

This is what I believe and what I know.


Definition of Destiny’s Consent from “Lions and Gondolas”

“OFTEN AS WE STAND in some uncertainty of what to do next, a great stroke of fortune can occur.  But how trite a way to express the profound and complex occurrence that will often transpire in our lives, without our even lifting a finger.

We call it ‘coincidence’, but in fact, it is the universe’s perfect orchestration of time — aligning many, if not an infinite number of elements, before the seemingly miraculous stroke of fortune, or ‘coincidence’ occurs.  To me now, I see life and its happenstances as a gigantic tapestry into whch the universe weaves an infinite number of threads.

Not until all of the threads are in place, can the great stroke of luck occur. I call it ‘destiny’s consent’ to explain the vast and plentiful miracles manifested by the universe specifically for each one of us.  If we just take the time to notice them.”


Laura Shepard Townsend
Lions and Gondolas: Book II of Destiny’s Consent





5.0 out of 5 stars
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November 14, 2014 By Deborah P.
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 I LOVE these books! They absolutely rocked my soul!


I read the books out of order…”Lions and Gondolas’ first and then, literally gasping for more from this author, at 2 A.M. after a straight read, I ordered “The Gypsy’s Song” on Amazon…

That was 2012. Since then, I have read each book at least 9 or 10 times. Every time, without fail, I discover more precious wisdom and perspective woven into the elegant tapestry of these works. Ms. Townsend has enchanted me with powerfully written, historically insightful, culturally rich stories with intimately developed characters…

Never before have I thirsted for more from an author…

More reviews on amazon…



Can’t wait to read the next installment


5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read, June 9, 2014
This review is from: Lions and Gondolas (Destiny’s Consent Book 2) 
Found this and its prequel in the “little free library” box near me. Being a resident of Venice (albeit temporarily- for school) and also someone who plays Roma music and has spent time among them in Serbia and Macedonia, I felt this was really well done. Such an enjoyable yet thought provoking read! Can’t wait to read the next installment!

Entertaining Storytelling Deftly shaped by A Beauty of Language and Heart

5.0 out of 5 stars Destiny’s Consent (books one and two), September 14, 2014
 This review is from: The Gypsy’s Song & Lions and Gondolas(Destiny’s Consent) (Paperback)
In the historical fiction settings of the Rom Gypsies wandering Europe and of a Rom gypsy family finding a new home in 1920’s Venice, California — we meet a range of characters at once familiar and mythic. The tales of Destiny’s Consent are ultimately spiritual journeys, even as we learn about Rom gypsies and Venice history in a colorful spectrum of culture and society. This is entertaining storytelling deftly shaped by a beauty of language and of heart.
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If you love Venice Beach, these free spirited characters…

final-cover-web “If you love Venice Beach, these free spirited characters will warm your heart and enrich your consciousness.

This wonderfully written novel combines two topics which fascinate me—-bohemians and Venice Beach. As the first book in the “Destiny’s Consent” trilogy, it’s an entertaining and enjoyable read. I was immediately transported to the magical world of Los Angeles at the early part of the 20th century. The women in this novel are strong and empowered, and their gypsy culture is colorfully described, making you feel like a participant in every vivid scene.

 Patricia Nolan Stein


Book Review of “Destiny’s Consent:The Gypsy’s Song”

What a fantastic book!  It is an adventure saga that is so beautifully conceived and written that I found myself frequently rereading paragraphs and whole sections to better savor the rich imagery and wisdom.

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There is always something going on and the story moves in a grand arc through one fascinating and momentous setting after another. This book begins the life story of a Gypsy wise woman as told by the woman, Angelica Grastende, herself.  It begins with 12 year old Angelica and her family living with their gypsy clan and traveling through the European country side in their beautifully painted horse drawn wagons. It’s an idyllic time that is soon to end but the characters and events of this early period in Angelica’s life are vividly lovingly drawn so well I never wanted it to end.  When it does I said “oh no!” but each adventure that follows is equally engaging and beautifully drawn.

I don’t want to spoil the story but I will say that, due to a catastrophic event combined with the effects of  WWI in Europe,  Angelica, her mother and father, and her grandmother Lena who was the clan matriarch and sorceress are forced to leave their beloved countryside and all their belongings and cross the Atlantic to America.  The story of their crossing could be a book in itself as could be the story of their life as members of a small traveling circus through the hinterlands of the America of the early 20th century.  As I say, I LOVED THIS BOOK.  I am looking forward very much to book two in this series from Shepard Townsend.



On the Writing of Nonfiction and Fiction

Storytelling, really?

 In the current book market, nonfiction and self-help writings certainly manifest more attention than fiction.  There are more nonfiction books published; more agents for nonfiction writing; more profit. One can self-publish; start lecturing in seminars; go onto radio shows and on stage and give speeches, dispersing advice to the masses. 

 It is touted as easier to get going in the nonfiction arena, and I assure you that with each rejection by agents/publishers, I had been sorely tempted to take a few more courses to alter my degree from a BA in Sociology to a BA in psychology and write a book on let’s say, True Love. 

 A valued friend suggested I write self-help books, because from her perspective, she feels I need to enlarge the arena of those I help, having been on the receiving end of the wisdom I have shared with her over the years.  Because my friend is quite prominent in the field of psychology, earning tens of thousands of dollars for each one of her lectures in her field, I was, of course, flattered.  I took it so much to heart, I began journaling for an insight and answer. 

 However, my Psyche, my very cantankerous Psyche, apparently not at all interested in revenue, chose storytelling.  One morning I awoke, with a complicated and important dream in my possession.  I wrote it down immediately, capturing the life adventure of Angelica Grastende, a woman of Rom.  It was thus that Destiny’s Consent was birthed.

 I take solace for the small amount of coins in my pocketbook from a few sources: Alice Walker, Clarissa Estes Pinkola and Joseph Campbell and the Twelve Steps. Not too shabby of company, I might add.

 Alice Walker stated this beautifully in an interview about her work:
“Storytelling, you know, has a real function.  The process of the storytelling is itself a healing process, partly because you have someone there who is taking the         time to tell you a story that has great meaning to them.  They’re taking the time to do this because your life could use some help, but they don’t want to come over and just give advice.  They want to give it to you in a form that becomes inseparable from your whole self.  That’s what stories do.  Stories differ from advice in that, once you get them, they become a fabric of your whole soul.  That is why they heal you.”

 In Women Who Run with the Wolves, the brilliant cantadora, Clarissa Estes Pinkola, relates stories women have shared with one another through the ages to assist in life’s transitions.  I know that story has the ability to penetrate into the reader’s heart and soul, in the solitude and the quiet, dislodging deep injuries and the resulting toxins, to be a balm—and to heal calmly on a profound level. 

 Joseph Campbell refers to stories as a deep well-spring of enduring truths that run through the human psyche and resonate within the core that runs thru the human psyche. 

 Twelve Step groups act in the same way: they share their stories, their mythologies with one another, with the directive, “take what you need, and leave the rest”.  There is no attempt to tell the other person what to do, but just relate our experiences.  If the other person wishes more information, they can speak with the person after their meeting.  From my experience, for the addict psychology, but for the young as well as any strong minded individual, advice given will not be heard, or if heard, will be rebelliously discarded.  

 Since, I myself, became so lost, so misguided in my own life, by society’s directives, I am choosing to pass on what I have learned. The Buddhist say, “you don’t get to keep what you don’t give away.”

Destiny’s Consent is my ‘give away’.